Stephen Thompson has almost certainly locked up a title shot, now that he’s defeated Rory MacDonald, and the dynamic striker isn’t hiding the fact he really wants to fight Robbie Lawler…
“Wonderboy” used his footwork and diverse striking game to outstrike MacDonald for the UD win at UFC Fight Night 89, who was the promotion’s #1 ranked welterweight heading into the fight. So, barring something unforeseen, Thompson will be challenging for the 170 title next. The welterweight has now won seven straight fights.
The next man who is facing the current champ, Robbie Lawler, however, is Tyron Woodley. The two will battle at UFC 201 on July 30th. Following Thompson’s win on Saturday, the Karate champ was asked who he’d rather face for the belt, Lawler or Woodley. The 33 year-old said this (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“I would rather fight Robbie Lawler, and I think Robbie Lawler is going to win it,” Thompson said. “He’s stayed active. Tyron Woodley hasn’t. Maybe there is a little bit of cage rust in there. Tyron’s been known to slow down later on in the rounds, and Robbie Lawler, he gets stronger as the rounds go on. So, I see Robbie Lawler winning that fight and I would love to fight him, hopefully in New York City (at UFC 205).”
From a stylistic perspective, it’s not surprising to hear Thompson say this. Lawler loves to stand and trade, and while he’s a very dangerous guy to do that with, Thompson is one of the best strikers in the game.
Woodley has heavy hands, but he’s also a decorated wrestler, and would likely be hunting for the TD against Thompson. So, Lawler -Thompson, rather than Woodley – Thompson, would likely move a lot more PPV buys.
UFC 201 will go down in Atlanta, Georgia. Saturday’s UFC FN 89 took place in Ottawa, Ontario.